CDC: Gay, Bisexual Men Are 2% of U.S. Population, but 55% of Those Living With HIV

By Penny Starr | August 17, 2016 | 3:22pm EDT
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (yellow) attacking a human T cell. (National Institutes of Health)

( – Gay and bisexual men comprised about 2 percent of the U.S. population in 2013, but they accounted for more than half of all Americans living with HIV, according to new data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

fact sheet posted on the CDC website on August 10 also shows that although the rate of HIV diagnoses have decreased 19 percent in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014, infections among gay and bisexual mean have increased, especially among African American and Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men.

“A 2016 analysis estimated that there are nearly 4.5 million gay and bisexual men in the United States and that 15% are living with HIV infection (11% diagnosed),” the agency noted.

If current diagnosis rates continue, 1 in 6 gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, including 1 in 2 black/African American gay and bisexual men, 1 in 4 Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, and 1 in 11 white gay and bisexual men,” the CDC warned.

Other CDC statistics for HIV diagnoses in 2014 include:

·  “Gay and bisexual men accounted for 83% (29,418) of the estimated new HIV diagnoses among all males aged 13 and older and 67% of the total estimated new diagnoses in the United States.

·  "Gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 accounted for an estimated 92% of new HIV diagnoses among all men in their age group and 27% of new diagnoses among all gay and bisexual men.

·  "Gay and bisexual men accounted for an estimated 54% (11,277) of people diagnosed with AIDS. Of those men, 39% were African American, 32% were white, and 24% were Hispanic/Latino.”

Under “Prevention Challenges”, CDC noted that 1 in 7 gay and bisexual men with HIV do not know they are infected.

“Most gay and bisexual men acquire HIV through having anal sex with an HIV positive person without using a condom or without taking daily medicine to prevent HIV called PrEP or without their partner taking medicine to treat HIV called PEP,” according to the CDC.

However, the agency says, “homophobia, stigma and discrimination may place gay and bisexual men at risk for multiple physical and health problems and affect whether they seek and are able to obtain high-quality health services.”

The CDC says that since 2012, it has invested a total of $394 million over five years to provide HIV prevention services for more than 90,000 gay and bisexual men at local health departments.

Although the agency’s “tool kit” for prevention states that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid HIV infection, it also states that “in addition to abstinence, limiting your number of sexual partners, never sharing needles, and using condoms the right way every time you have sex, you may be able to take advantage of newer medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)."

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